The good health of professional athletes is the most important aspect of the players' success, and without an athletic trainer, it would not be achievable. Burlington Royals fans met trainer Brad Groleau last year, and he will be returning this season. He is the key person who is tasked with the
The good health of professional athletes is the most important aspect of the players' success, and without an athletic trainer, it would not be achievable.
Burlington Royals fans met trainer Brad Groleau last year, and he will be returning this season. He is the key person who is tasked with the everyday challenge of making sure every player is healthy, and able to perform at his highest level.
It was while playing little league that Groleau recognized he had a passion for the game of baseball.
"I enjoy the everyday grind the game brings. The game is very competitive. Being able to experience the competition while working in the dugout alongside the players is something I really enjoy."
Trying to make sure these athletes are learning proper training techniques, and implementing the programs is a major challenge. Programs are all run by Groleau and the strength and conditioning coach, Joey Mañana, who both play a major role in the overall health and development of the players.
"A challenge the game of baseball brings is the athletes perform the same repetitive movement patterns daily, which can create imbalances throughout the body. As athletic trainers, we develop preventative maintenance programs for the athletes to complete throughout the season to help correct those imbalances," says Groleau.
Not only does he work with the players, but also the coaches.
"It is the athletic trainer's job to work with the coaching staff to make sure the athletes use proper mechanics, which will decrease injury risk. It is important to be proactive with the players to make sure they stay on track with their programs."
The Burlington Royals roster is typically put together with newly-drafted players from either high school and colleges, as well as players from the Arizona or Dominican Summer Leagues. This puts Groleau and Mañana's skill sets to the test in real-time.
"For the newly drafted players, the position players need to adjust to the everyday playing schedule, and the pitchers need to adjust to their new throwing programs. The travel schedule and amount of time committed daily to be a professional baseball player is also an adjustment needed."
Groleau started with the Royals as an intern with the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Royals, then started in May 2019 with the B-Royals. Athletic training is a passion of Groleau, as is doing it for an organization like the Royals.
"I want to do everything in my power to help the players succeed. Hopefully, that will allow them to move up through the minor league system and become major league players in the future. It is an honor to work for the Kansas City Royals organization, which has such a great history and baseball tradition" he says.
With full squads reporting to Surprise, Arizona for spring training this week, all eyes are on the upcoming season. The Appalachian League season begins in June, with the B-Royals' first game on June 22nd against the Danville Braves.
Alex Feuz is the broadcaster and reporter for the Burlington Royals. You can follow @alexfeuz on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.